Louise Manzon’s work has always been mindful of the female condition, of procreation, of the vitality of natural environments, the perils that threaten the sea creatures and the hope for their preservation and restoring them to more suitable and balanced conditions.
The New York exhibition expands on several of the creative themes most dear to the artist: the archetypes of Greco-Roman mythology – the cradle of Western civilization and modern sculpture traditions – time and its imperceptible flow, female figures and their role as the watchful and maternal guardians of life’s secrets, aquatic creatures and the redemptive importance of the quality of the waters in which they live.
The three large, stately sculptures are inspired by the Three Gratiae of Greco-Roman mythology, heiresses to the Greek Charites (Χάριτες in ancient Greek). From their origins, these goddesses were linked to the cult of Nature, to plants and the joy of life, capable of imbuing the hearts of divine and mortal creatures with the contagious joy of Nature.
In traditional mythology, these figures are Aglaea, who represents Adornment or Splendor, Euphrosyne, who symbolizes Joy and happiness, and Thalia, who embodies Plenty or Prosperity.
Their relationship with today’s world is represented by the fact that there is no joy without sorrow, no perfection without dedication. Louise Manzon’s three Graces; their heads carried high on swan-like necks, their gaze fixed upwards toward the sky, know this all too well in their attempt to overcome and defeat moral conventions and stereotypes. This determination to overcome limits is reflected in the intention to cast off the prejudices of family members, friends, and acquaintances.
The artist reveals that in order to convey splendor, joy and prosperity, women must constantly go beyond the repetition of familiar stories, the intergenerational transmission of secrets and specters, ancestors who do not want to depart, and past lives that remain trapped within the fibers of the clothes worn by these beautiful goddesses.
The eight princesses that are reflected in the waters and the fish swimming near to them, are inspired by the Nereids (Νηρείδες or Νηρηίδες); sea nymphs, the daughters of Nereus and the Oceanid, Doris, who in Greek mythology were considered to be immortal, benevolent creatures, protectors of sea creatures and kindly guides to sailors.
Their names are Actaea, Cymothoe, Dynamene, Doto, Galatea, Melite, Proto and Speio. They were part of the court of Poseidon, and were depicted as young maidens who, along with the Tritons, accompanied the Sea God. These maidens guarded the abyss, the realm of the salty deep, populated by multitudes of colorful and extraordinary creatures.
The images of the Nereids, divine figures and sculptural representations, ancient and contemporary, are deliberately placed out of time. The different dimensions of the figures, whether natural or reduced, simultaneously express a sense of regal strength, pride and liberty, in an attempt to overcome the limitations of their destiny.
It is intentional that the artist’s preferred structural technique always explores two dimensions: the obvious contrast between the magnificent surface smoothness of the dresses, so dazzling and distinguished, and the primordial traces of the clay in other structural details, left in view, rough and rudimentary.
With their primeval shapes, the school of fish represents the world dominated and cared for by the Nereids; aquatic life, the force of the species threatened by pollution and negligence, factors that out of water undermine the vitality that the artist accentuates in the vivid colors and the darting shapes.
Louise Manzon’s fish are molded as if the primordial power of the sea had been energized by the terracotta, the material of creation. The forms bring to mind buoyant primeval beings, the forms of aquatic life emerging from the depths of the abysses.
The timeless elegance of the forms converge harmoniously towards the opening of the mouths, bringing joy to a world that has lived and that lives with us, with our myths and our stories. Ancient figures, but still relevant today, that remind us of the importance of protecting the environment and the fundamental relationship between humanity, nature, and culture.
Advantage Première Art Fund is an independent fund dedicated to collectable assets , primarily focused on 20th century and contemporary art and the identification of emerging and innovative sectors.
Advantage Première Art Fund has adopted a series of ethical principles when choosing its works, prioritizing decision criteria that are most consistent with the Advantage Financial strategy.
More specifically, the interest in Louise Manzon’s work is generated by the presence of certain details that Advantage Première regards as particularly significant: a focus on environmental sustainability (in May 2013 Advantage Financial, with the endorsement of the President of the Italian Republic and under the aegis of the Ministry for the Environment, produced the first of three annual “Advantage Financial Ecological Footprint” reports), a focus on gender issues (paying attention to female artistic production), a focus on interculturality (following the work of artists that have been brought up and move between different cultures, expressing a common language and the coexistence of intellectual and civil values), and a focus on the use of materials and artistic techniques that are environmentally-friendly and respectful of the most eminent traditions.